I remember waking up this time last year in a panic. Our wedding was going to be small & casual but my favorite white dress had a neon stain. I didn’t mind it until 5 hours before the ceremony, at which point I had no time to find a new one because my friend needed several hours to turn me into a blushing bride.

The groom was already assigned with picking up the mystery cake that he ordered and a bouquet of roses but I had to add one more major task to his list. I had recently done lots of dress shopping in H&M… so although I had never actually tried it on, I knew just the dress that would fit perfectly and would look great for the wedding (I hoped.)

Since describing a dress to a man would get me nowhere (especially when he can’t differentiate between the many different shades of white), I had to find the exact model number and send him a photo. He was absolutely terrified. As I went over to my friends house to get all dolled up, Isaac went dress shopping for the very first time.

It took hours but somehow, my friend performed a miracle on my face and hair. Nothing, not even a surge in Uber prices, could have dampened my spirit as we rushed to the municipal hall of Prague 6. We met up with my soon-to-be-husband at the nearby pub where we would cerebrate after the ceremony. Nervously, he handed me the dress he bought and I ran to the bathroom to try it on. It was perfect!

I felt like a million bucks in my $15 dress and that’s when it finally hit me that I was getting married. I may have felt differently if we hadn’t decided to get married just two months earlier. We were already engaged for four months but originally we had planned on getting married a year or two later. But when we made the spontaneous decision to move to China, everything had changed!

The ceremony was not what we expected. We thought we’d walk into a hall, sign a paper and be done with it. Since we’ll have a proper wedding with our families in a few years, we didn’t mind a quick unofficial wedding. As soon as we came in, they sat us down and had us pick out music and told us that we’d be walking down the aisle together. They took our rings, sat our guests down and instructed us to walk slowly as soon as the music started.

I wobbled down the aisle on jelly legs as our friends smiled at us. The minister was a friendly man with a twinkle in his eye and the ceremony itself was quick but sweet. The minister told us a moving anecdote that was translated accurately by the Czech to English and then went straight to business. I almost fell over from nerves when we said “yes” and then it was all laughs as we signed the paper’s to Maroon 5’s This Love.

Next it was time to celebrate at a pour-your-own-beer pub where we had our first dance on top of a table. It was definitely a non-traditional wedding. It only got better when the staff brought out the cake that Isaac had kept so secret. It was snail-themed because of our pet snails! We ate and laughed while Isaac showed us the emails he exchanged with the cake shop. They went something like…

Isaac: Hello, could you make a snail cake for our wedding?
Cake shop: Yes, we can make anything. Can you send us a photo?
Isaac: Here is a photo of our snail. *photo of our giant African land snail on top a mini skateboard*
Cake shop: Uhhhhh, we could make a cartoon version of a snail. Is that okay?
Isaac: Perfect! Please make it without a skateboard.
Cake shop: *facepalm*

It was a great day full of fun, laughter and enough beers to make it hard for a stumbling Isaac to carry me across the threshold. The guests were a great mix of people: one of my oldest childhood friends (who was dressed better than the jean-wearing groom), one of my best friends who I met in Middle School, Isaac’s adult students who we met up with every month, his best friend/metal festival buddy and our core group of friends who we spent practically every weekend with.

Last but not least, the person who made the wedding such a hit was my newest friend. I had only met two weeks before the wedding but it felt like we had known each other forever. She was also the one who dolled me up and took all the beautiful wedding photos! It was an amazing day that I will never forget ❤

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